Food Combining for Optimal Nutrition and Digestion

Did you think that you were being healthy eating fruit after dinner? Think again! Understanding food combining is essential to proper breakdown of the food and absorption of nutrients. If you experience digestive upset, gas, bloating, headaches, candida, constipation, diarrhea, lower back pain, fatigue, etc. you may want to pay close attention.

Here is my interpretation of food combining guidelines:


Background Info:

  • Food is broken down and digested in several areas including the mouth (saliva), stomach, and the first and middle sections of the small intestine. There is mechanical digestion (chewing and churning) as well as chemical digestion.
  • Our bodies are incredibly intelligent and use different enzymes and acid to break down different types of food. For example, protein requires a very acidic stomach to digest. Starch on the other hand requires alkalinity which starts with the saliva in the mouth.
  • Fruit doesn’t chemically digest until the 3rd or 4th stage of digestion.
  • Fruit takes ~1hr to digest, veg ~1-2hrs, starch ~2-3hrs, protein ~3-4hrs.
  • Acid fruits include: lemon, citrus, strawberry, pineapple, cranberries, kiwi, etc.
  • Sweet fruits include: banana, dates, figs, prunes, grapes, dried fruit
  • Protein includes: meat, cheese, eggs, fish, beans, nuts, seeds, etc.
  • Starch includes: grains, breads, crackers, cereal, potatoes, squash

Food Combining General Rules:

  • Always eat fruit alone. Avoid combining acidic and sweet fruit, and always eat melon by itself. Fruit digests really fast. You do NOT want other food in your stomach when consuming fruit. It will be slowed down and will ferment and rot.
  • No protein and starch in the same meal. Sandwiches, burgers, meat/pasta, etc. typically are forbidden for proper digestion (protein/starch combo).
  • Avoid protein and fat. Eat fat only with grains/starches and vegetables.
  • Avoid two concentrated proteins in the same meal (nuts, cheese).
  • Chew starches well as they break down with your saliva.
  • Sugar & carbonation in general messes with digestive juices. Avoid during meals.
  • Drink water before meals, not during.


  • Eat fruit on empty stomach and/or 30+ minutes before meals.
  • Avoid starch and protein together. i.e. meat/potato, meat/bread, protein/grain
  • Avoid protein and fat together.
  • Vegetables can be combined with anything but fruit.
  • Fruit takes ~1hr to digest, veg ~1-2hrs, starch ~2-3hrs, protein ~3-4hrs.


  • Acid fruit can be combined with fatty protein such as avocado, nuts, seeds, meat.
  • Lettuce and celery can be combined with anything but melon. They are neutral.

Please comment on your experience with food combining…

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